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Hall County libraries to start new schedule Saturday
North Hall technology center to open next week
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Hollis Mendes tucks away wiring inside the desks of the computer lab at the North Hall Community and Technology Center.

The Hall County Library System will begin its new alternating Saturday schedule this weekend.

The main branch off Main Street in Gainesville will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Two other branches, Spout Springs and North Hall, will operate the same hours but on a rotating basis.

Spout Springs Library in Flowery Branch will be open this Saturday, and every first and third Saturday, and North Hall Community and Technology Center will be open on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

The system cut hours to all libraries and eliminated weekend hours on Sept. 1 because of significant funding challenges, but the Hall County Library Board later voted to approve limited weekend hours.

 may develop a more steady Saturday schedule after the start of the next fiscal year. The board will reconsider the Saturday hours at its December meeting.

The new hours were set to begin after Oct. 15, when the North Hall branch was expected to open. However, furniture deliveries have driven back that opening date.

Al List, North Hall branch manager, said he expects to open the new facility by the middle of next week if all goes according to plan.

List and a few other employees were busy setting up the facility’s computer labs Thursday afternoon.

The facility boasts an all-Macintosh lab that can operate under either Macintosh or Windows operating systems.

Patrons can also borrow iPads, Nooks and other devices while on the property.

“It kind of gives an opportunity for people who are thinking about purchasing one of these items the chance to come in to actually see it firsthand, put their hands on it. It’s kind of like a technology petting zoo,” List said, smiling.

Once the facility opens, patrons can take classes on how to use the available computers and programs.

Karen Hoyt, who lives down the street from the facility, stopped by to take a look at the library’s progress.

“It looks pretty interesting ... looks like they’ve put a lot of ideas into this,” Hoyt said.

As someone who is “on the edge of technology,” she said she’s looking forward to being able to use the up-to-date equipment.

The facility has two separate areas for teens and children. Small children can use computers set up at their height. Middle and high school students can use computers for schoolwork or take a break and play Xbox and PlayStation video games.

Other than computers and televisions, the facility is still fairly empty. A problem with a delivery truck prevented a shipment of desk chairs for the computer labs Thursday. A few more furniture items are yet to be delivered as well, including the central circulation desk.

Library Director Adrian Mixson said the center should have all of its furniture and finishing touches delivered by the first of November.

He said the branch will be turning on the PINES delivery system that allows patrons to order books from any PINES library in the state after Nov. 1, even if that means using a table for a circulation desk.

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